Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is telling teams that Thaddeus Young is not available via trade, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Young’s name has previously been mentioned as a possible trade target for contending teams.
Executives wonder whether Karnisovas is just posturing to gain leverage since Young is highly sought after, but he does help facilitate development for their youth.
Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Coby White, and others are playing some of their best basketball while sharing the court with Young. Even though he’s 32, he’ll retain value moving forward with only $6 million of the $14.2 million on his contract for next season guaranteed. It may cost a pretty penny to get the playmaking veteran moving forward.
The 32-year-old veteran became more of a focal point and facilitator for the Bulls after the team dealt with injuries to players like Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr.
Young is averaging 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 60.9 percent from the field (25.3 minutes per game).
He is also averaging 6.6 elbow touches per game, third-most in the NBA behind Nikola Jokic (9.5 touches) and Domantas Sabonis (7.0), according to NBA advanced stats.
If the Bulls ultimately choose to keep Young, it could be a signal that they want to make a push for the playoffs.
The team, which currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 16-18, has a tough stretch of games after the All-Star break against the Philadelphia 76ers (March 11), Miami Heat (March 12) and Toronto Raptors (March 14).